Bubble Tea is becoming more and more popular in the US. Here in Northern VA we have been seeing new bubble tea shops or existing cafes adding it to their menus all over. It is a fairly new concept, meaning it does not have deep historical roots. It’s suspected origin only dates back to the 1980s when it because popular in Taiwan.
There are so many different variations of the drink. Many people caution that it is unhealthy because often times it is loaded with a lot of sugar. A lot of the time the tea is sweetened with sugary powders or sweetened condensed milk. When I was thinking about making my own tea I wanted to make a version that was much less sweet and lower in sugar.
When I order a bubble tea I find myself racing through the often very sugary drink just to get to the BOBA or tapioca ball. I sometimes joke that I just want a whole cup full of BOBA, hold the tea! I thought that it was called Bubble Tea because of the tapioca balls, a common misconception I found out when I read this article on Eat This, Not That!. The bubbles in bubble tea actually refers to the foam that forms on top of the tea when it is shaken. So, you could have bubble tea without the tapioca balls, but I don’t know why you would want to!
In order to try this at home, I ordered black tapioca balls from here off Amazon. I am sure you can also find them at an Asian grocery store, or, if you are very ambitious you could make them yourself! I liked that the tapioca balls I ordered also came with the wide mouth straws because they are much larger than any straw you would find at the grocery store and they have to be in order to fit the tapioca balls through so you can enjoy some with each sip!
To make the tea, steep 4 bags of earl grey tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to over steep it or the tea will get bitter. Once it is steeped to your liking, remove the tea bags and bring the tea to room temperature.
Prepare the tapioca balls as instructed on the package directions (or following my instructions below) and then coat them in 2 tablespoons of honey. Once the tea is cooled, add the almond milk to the tea in a container that you can shake. Shake vigorously to mix and form foam at the top.
Scoop half the tapioca balls into each cup, pour milk tea over top.
Remember to enjoy with a wide-mouthed straw!
Even Layla likes Bubble Tea! (Hehe, only kidding, she is just sniffing, though in this photo she really appears to be drinking from a straw!… and yes she is standing on a table…)
- 4 tbsp earl grey tea
- 10 cups water, boiling
- 1 cup black tapioca balls
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 tbsp agave
- Steep 4 bags of earl grey tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 2-3 minutes
- Bring tea to room temperature
- Meanwhile, add tapioca balls to 10 cups boiling water
- Let tapioca balls rise to the surface
- Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 2-3 minutes
- Turn heat off, simmer 2-3 more minutes
- Scoop tapioca into cold water for 20 seconds then scoop into a dry bowl
- Add honey to the bowl of tapioca balls, mix to coat
- In a jar with a lid, add the cooled earl grey tea, almond mix and agave, shake
- Add desired about of tapioca balls to serving glass
- Fill glass with tea mixture
- Serve with a wide mouthed straw